What is Fair When it Comes to IVF Fundraising?
The Atlantic had an interesting article on using the Internet to fundraise for medical costs, including IVF, and I guess I clicked over to read it because of the question in the title: “Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill?”
I can’t see how making a request is or isn’t fair. I’m using the standard definition for the word: “in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate.” The Internet is the wild west. You can post dick pics and you can post requests for someone to pay for your IVF cycle: anything goes until the Internet uprises and says, “nope” by turning your efforts into a meme.
To prove my point, I Googled “is Kickstarter unfair” and not one article appeared on the front page lambasting the people who ask for money to pursue their passion projects. Whereas, I Googled “is IVF fundraising unfair” and there were 5 posts about it on the front page alone.
I don’t mind being asked, but I’m not in a financial position to help. I feel badly, but I also think people understand. On any given day, I am asked to donate money to various causes that people are running or biking or walking to support. I am asked to attend fundraisers at food establishments to help pay for X, Y, and Z. I am asked to run or bike or walk myself to help raise money. And I am asked to fund projects on Kickstarter and family building efforts on GoFundMe. Even if I contributed only a $1 to each cause, when I am asked on average 8 times per day, that comes to almost $3000 per year.
And let’s face it, only kids at lemonade stands jump up and down in excitement over a $1 donation.
So I feel badly, but that’s on me. It’s still fair of the person to ask, just as it is fair for a person to stand on a median in the street holding a cardboard sign. Does it hurt when seeing them standing there with their sign punches me in the conscience? Yes. But again, that’s on me. And being punched in the conscience isn’t a bad thing, even when you know that you don’t have the means to make everyone happy, to make everyone feel as if their efforts are rewarded, their requests granted.
We all need punches in the conscience to not become complacent.
The one part I did agree with in the article is a quote that came towards the bottom:
“If we use crowdsourcing for healthcare costs as a way to replace what a good healthcare system might do, then we’re really creating a new health disparity.”
Meaning, if we set up a health care system that is so prohibitively expensive that only people who have the means to access a computer can do the appropriate fundraising to pay off the cost of treatment, then we are deepening the health care divide where the rich get saved and the poor die.
Fair, in this case, is an accurate descriptive term, but the fairness should be addressed at the medical system itself and not the people who ask for donations. It is totally fair to ask people to help with hospital bills, but it is totally unfair that we have a system where a person can have steady work and good insurance and still can’t afford medical treatments.
It speaks to the lack of value our individual lives hold.
Which is pretty depressing.
I’m curious how people who have used the Internet to crowdfund for medical reasons read that article or approach this question. Or how people on the other side of the equation — the ones being asked — feel about the request?